Capito, McKinley on the fringe

There is much we can learn from the fact our Republicans in Washington, Reps. McKinley and Capito, voted against extending the tax cuts for West Virginia families. The recent budget deal got approval from the vast majority of Republicans in the Senate and passed the Republican-controlled House by a 90-vote margin, so these two representatives are on the extreme fringe of this issue.

It is very revealing that McKinley and Capito claim this deal will add to our debt. How can a bill that increases income tax (and payroll tax) revenue and has no new spending increase the deficit? The deal actually lowers the deficit by $737 billion. The cockeyed logic here is that if we’d gone over the cliff all of us would be paying more taxes which would indeed have lessened the deficit. But since McKinley and Capito don’t want even the super rich to give back their tax cuts this comparison makes no sense.

McKinley is similarly off the mark in saying the problem is spending, not taxes. Taxes are historically low in our country. During the fall election campaign we learned that 60 percent of the deficit Obama was blamed for was, in fact, caused by President Bush’s generous tax cuts. Twenty percent is due to the fact that Bush involved us in two wars without paying for them. Money that President Obama spent to avoid a Great Depression accounted for only 20 percent. So tax giveaways are very much the heart of the problem. This budget deal has addressed this by asking the wealthiest among us – those who benefit the most from our nation’s assets – to give back the tax cuts they have enjoyed for the last 11 years and that they clearly no longer need. Until we put the recession in our rearview mirror it is too risky to let all the tax cuts expire though hopefully many more Americans will be able to give back their cuts in the future as times improve.

The only way for a nation to ever balance its books is to have a robust economy, such as President Clinton helped create in the 1990s. He started by restoring a higher tax rate for the wealthy. To curtail government spending now to allow for a constant downward slide in tax rates will doom us to a stagnant economy. Most Americans believe in this country enough to invest in its future. It’s a shame McKinley and Capito do not.

Karen V. Campbell